Rachel's Challenge is a nonprofit organization that offers a series of school, business, and community programs and workshops modeled after the life of Rachel Scott, the first person killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings. Their mission is to “inspire, equip, and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.”1
Rachel said, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.”2 After Rachel's death, her father, Darrell, began sharing her thoughts, experiences, and message around the nation to create a safer learning environment for all students.
From this beginning, the Rachel's Challenge program developed into a three part strategy: a school presentation that motivates the students to “want to” make a positive change, a leadership training session that teaches “how to” support the students' desires, and a community session to reinforce the students' choices to make a positive change in the culture of their school.3
A follow up program, Rachel's Legacy, is also available to encourage students to leave their own legacy of kindness and compassion. There are also educator workshops on effective teaching from the heart and how to affect not just the school's climate, but the prevailing culture as well. Addressing the root problems of isolation, prejudice, and bullying, Rachel's Challenge offers a proactive solution that brings together students, teachers, schools, families, and communities.4
Through the dedication of Rachel's family and 30 other speakers, her story has been told to over 10 million people through primary and secondary schools, large stadium events, and media programs.5 Eleven national organizational partners have added their support in getting Rachel's message out through public service announcements, curriculum development, media attention, graduate training for educators, networking with star athletes for events, and various youth intervention programs.6
Posthumously, Rachel was awarded the “Student of the Year” 2001 National Kindness Award from the Acts of Kindness Association. In 2006, Darrell and Rachel's Challenge was awarded the Catharine Barrett Friend of Education Award by the National Education Association of New York.7
- 1. “Rachel's Challenge Mission.” Rachel's Challenge. < http://www.rachelschallenge.org/LearnMore/OurMission.php > 27 Feb. 2011.
- 2. “Meet Rachel.” Rachel's Challenge. < http://www.rachelschallenge.org/LearnMore/MeetRachel.php > 23 May 2011.
- 3. “What is Rachel's Challenge?” Rachel's Challenge. < http://www.rachelschallenge.org/LearnMore/WhatIsRC.php > 23 May 2011.
- 4. “Schools and Educators.” Rachel's Challenge. < http://www.rachelschallenge.org/Educators/Programs/index.php > 23 May 2011.
- 5. “Conference Programs.” Rachel's Challenge. < http://www.rachelschallenge.org/Educators/Programs/Conferences.php > 23 May 2011.
- 6. “National Organizational Partners.” Rachel's Challenge. < http://www.rachelschallenge.org/LearnMore/Partners.php > 23 May 2011.
- 7. “Awards and Recognition.” Rachel's Challenge. < http://www.rachelschallenge.org/LearnMore/Awards.php > 23 May 2011.